n Mousaion - The accidental growth of book history : a literature review of print culture and book history studies in South Africa

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The study of book history is in its infancy in South Africa, with a small group of scholars working in the area and little sense of a shared body of literature, which could be used as foundational texts for those wishing to conduct research in this field. This article describes an attempt to map the terrain of book and print culture studies in South Africa to date. Although it is only in recent years that writings have come to be grouped under a broader heading of book history (whether at conferences or in special issues of journals), work has been done in this field since the early twentieth century. This is similar to the situation in other countries, where the 'accidental' growth of book history has meant that a great deal of work has been done on a wide variety of relevant topics. The article describes key strands in the literature, including print history, publishing history, the overlap with literary history, and studies of readership and reception.

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